Milpitas Unified School District Staff and Board of Education conducted a Study Session and Public Hearing to share its Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan (LCP) for the 2020-21 school year and open the September 8 meeting.
The purpose of the LCP is to memorialize the planning process that took place from June to August by the COVID-19 Advisory Task Force Subcommittees, which were comprised of 260 stakeholders and their recommendations in support of: in-person instructional offerings and distance learning; pupil learning loss; mental health and social emotional well-being; pupil and family engagement; and school nutrition.
The LCP is a key part of the overall budget package for K-12 districts that targets funding stability for schools while providing information at the local educational agency (LEA) level for how student learning continuity will be addressed during the COVID-19 crisis in the 2020–21 school year.
Five days after LCP adoption, MUSD must file the Plan with the County Superintendent and Office of Education, which, in turn, submits its LCP to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
To review MUSD’s LCP Plan, click here.
Bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge in serving the most vulnerable student population, new Director of Student Services / Special Education Mary Jude Doerpinghaus and Coordinator of Student Services / Special Education Stacey Lillard were introduced to the Milpitas community at the August 25 meeting.
Mary Jude comes to Milpitas Unified School District with 15 years of experience as an administrator for Special Education, most recently serving as Director of Special Education at Pleasanton Unified School District. Prior to that, she was Assistant Superintendent, Director and Coordinator in San Carlos.
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve in this community,” said Doerpinghaus, who was immediately attracted to MUSD’s Culture of WE commitment. “That whole concept of being inclusive and working to support all really is a passion of mine. … I’m very happy to be part of that collaborative process as we serve our students, our staff and our community.”
Stacey has worked as a Special Education Principal for Santa Clara County programs for the last four years. She has developed partnerships with district colleagues, families and community members in the county, and most recently with Milpitas HS. As principal, she worked her team through several challenges, including meeting the unique and extraordinary needs of students with a range of disabilities.
“The collaboration component as well as the focus on social-emotional learning and the Culture of WE definitely resonates very intimately with me,” Lillard said. “I have a special place of empathy and place in my heart for what the parents are experiencing and going through as part of the distance learning environment. It’s a never-ending level of support that they have to provide to their children. As a team, we have to keep that in mind.”
ABOUT MEASURE C
Voters approved Milpitas Unified School District (District) parcel tax, Measure C, in June 2014. Measure C, an eight-year parcel tax, renewed Measure B and maintained the same tax of $84 per parcel per year. Measure C, commenced on July 1, 2015 and will expire on June 30, 2023.
The purpose for the parcel tax is to maintain strong core academic programs in math, science, reading, and writing; prepare students for college and 21st Century careers; continue teaching programs in science, technology, engineering, and math to help graduates succeed; and attract and retain highly qualified and experienced teachers, with no proceeds used for administrative salaries and benefits.
PARCEL TAX EXEMPTION
Any Milpitas owner of a parcel used solely for owner-occupied, single-family residential purposes and who are:
(a) 65 years of age or older on or before June 30 of the fiscal year immediately preceding the year in which the tax would apply, or
(b) receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for a disability, regardless of age, or
(c) property owners who own parcels that are contiguous and held under identical ownership**
may obtain an exemption from the parcel tax by submitting an application, by June 15 of any year, to the District.
**Contiguous Parcel Exemption: The contiguous parcel exemption allows a Milpitas property owner to combine adjacent parcels (parcels that share a common border) into one taxable unit. These combined parcels must also be used solely for owner-occupied, single-family residential purposes and held under identical ownership.
Homeowners who have previously been exempted from the District’s parcel tax will be automatically exempted for the remainder of Measure C without having to file a new application.
HOW CAN I APPLY?
Complete the application and provide copies of the required documents. Mail or drop off paperwork to Milpitas Unified School District, Business Services, 1331 E. Calaveras Blvd., Bldg. 200, Room 205, Milpitas, CA 95035. For questions, call (408) 635-2600 ext. 6022.
Or click here to apply online
Required Documents for Homeowners who turn 65 on or before June 30 of the fiscal year immediately preceding the year in which the tax would apply: (Link to application)
Proof of Ownership (Current property tax bill)
Proof of Residency (Current Calif. I.D. or Calif. Driver’s License or recent utility bill)
Age Verification (Current Calif. I.D. or Calif. Driver’s License or Passport or Medicare card)
Required Documents for Homeowners with Contiguous Parcels: (Link to application)
Proof of Ownership (Current property tax bill for both parcels)
Proof of Residency (Current Calif. I.D. or Calif. Driver’s License or recent utility bill)
Required Documents for Homeowners receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for a Disability:
(Link to application)
Proof of Ownership (Current property tax bill)
Provide a Benefits Verification Letter issued by the Social Security Administration receiving Supplemental Income for a Disability.
Proof of Residency (Current Calif. I.D. or Calif. Driver’s License or recent utility bill)
WHERE CAN I APPLY?
You may mail or drop off paperwork:
Milpitas Unified School District
Attn: Business Services Dept.– Bldg. 200, Rm. 205
1331 E. Calaveras Blvd.
Milpitas, CA 95035
9:00AM – 11:00AM & 1:00PM – 4:00PM / For questions call (408) 635-2600 x6022
Applications are available at the following locations:
- Milpitas Unified School District Website www.musd.org
- Milpitas Unified School District – Business Services Department
1331 E. Calaveras Blvd, Milpitas, CA 95035 or call to have an application mailed to you
(408) 635-2600 ext. 6022
DEADLINE TO APPLY
Applications must be submitted to the Milpitas Unified School District by June 15th. If the requested material is not received by the due date, the tax will appear on your tax bill. No refunds will be provided.
Click here to apply online
Sinnott Elementary School teacher Adrienne Barber authored her first children’s book, titled “School Coronavirus Do’s & Don’ts,” over the summer.
“Inspired by her incredible, funny, and hard-working students,” Barber’s goal was to “write a book that brought some comfort and humor to students everywhere.” Barber, a first and second grade public school teacher for the last 20 years, wrote and illustrated the entire book.
“It's an informative and silly guide to help children with the changes in schools, whether they attend online or in person,” Barber explained. “I published this week, and it's already been seen in several countries. The best part is that it's making some kids laugh.”
The book, which can be found on Amazon, has already been translated in Mandarin, Spanish, Italian, and Hindi, with Vietnamese and Korean on the way.
“I will create a multi-language version as well,” she added. “My friends, as well as some students from the past and their families, have all joined in to help with translations. It's been pretty incredible.”
Barber also has her own website with free resources for families.
After a quick health check upon arrival at Calaveras Hills High School, an Extended School Year (ESY) student—one of a dozen whose family opted for in-person instruction over the summer—heads to the restroom to wash his hands before walking over to the classroom.
The ESY Hybrid Pilot Program, which enrolled 15 high school students (grades 9-12) this summer, began virtually on June 15, with the in-person component introduced on June 22. Students must have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that qualifies for the Extended School Year Program to participate in the extended program.
“Especially for these students, the reason that they qualify for ESY in their IEPs is because they would show regression (with a gap in their education), so this is to help them maintain their progress towards their IEP goals,” said second-year ESY Principal Kristina Ravo, who is the first to welcome each student before conducting the health check.
During the first week, one student comes in once a week for a 45-minute, in-person instruction session—which is co-taught by a teacher and paraprofessional, with support from a Behavioral Interventionist, present to take data and provide support if necessary. As the pilot program continued with success through July 23, classes expanded to 75 minutes and then further with two students in class per session instead of one.
“We expand and roll out the program as we go,” Ravo said. “It’s neat to see it grow and the program definitely would not be as successful without the hard work of our in-person team.”
This year, Mr. DeGuzman led the virtual instruction and Mr. Stimson led the in-person 2:1 sessions with students in partnership with Mark Navarro (Paraprofessional) and Wesley Casco (BIT). For in-person instruction, each student has their own materials box that is only used by that student and not shared with others. Activities and lessons that are creatively planned to meet individual student IEP needs are done, such as cooking and various methods of academic practice. The virtual classroom includes contact information, Google Hangout Meet links, daily/weekly lesson plans with links to resources and materials, additional resources for parents to access, and how-to videos.
“All of our Special Education staff is amazing. Their dedication and passion for the students is awesome,” said Ravo. “I love working with the team and having a different interaction than I would during the school year.”
A group of five Kindergarten students, along with their teacher, have been piloting an in-person summer school program this year at Alexander Rose Elementary School. COVID19 safety protocols, such as social distancing, wearing face coverings, and sanitizing hands, are all part of the daily routine agreed upon by all participating families.
“It’s going really well,” said Summer School Principal Lori Nuno. “A parent this morning said her son is very excited to get to school everyday.”
The day begins with staff outside waiting as parents drop off their children in front of the school. Each student has a symptoms check, along with a squeeze of hand sanitizer, before moving to their designated spot. Each student is given six feet of social distance from the next. The students then walk in a single-file line to their classroom, where everything they need for that day is already at their desk.
“(Ms. Lundeen) can get way more done with them in-person than online,” said Nuno, an assistant principal at Rancho Milpitas Middle School in 2019-20. “She’s made it so they don’t have to leave their desks, except for using the bathroom. If they do, they must wash their hands in the bathroom and then also use hand sanitizer when they come back into the classroom.”
Of 17 summer Kindergarten students, five families opted to have their child come in from 8:45-10am Monday through Thursday for in-person instruction. This quintet is not required to partake in the online instruction that is in place for the more than 200 Kinder through 6th grade Summer School students.
At their desks, the teacher and students wear face shields instead of facemasks. They must keep them on for the entire school day. Nuno said the clear face shields allow teachers to see and evaluate their students’ expressions, while also permitting students to see the teacher pronunciate words.
Schools are a designated Essential Business, and are permitted to operate in this capacity as long as they conform with guidelines laid out in the Social Distancing Protocol of the County Health Officer Risk Reduction Order. Milpitas Unified School District is phasing in the 2020-21 school year with all students in 100 percent distance learning for at least the first six weeks. Governor Newsom’s new statewide directive for students returning to campuses mandates 14 consecutive days of zero new COVID19 cases in the county..
“This program that we’re piloting is what it will look like solely in the classroom, not school-wide, because we only have one class of five students,” said Nuno, who leads 19 summer teachers in various programs, almost all virtual. “They get a chance to see what fits their style of teaching and they can transfer that into the fall. It’s a great way to experiment to see what strategies work best for them as classroom teachers.”
MUSD’s COVID19 Advisory Task Force, along with its 14 subject-concentrated subcommittees, continues to map out all aspects of a 2020-21 Plan, which involves phasing-in of students on campuses in varying intervals at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. District leaders, who have invited parents to a series of 10 virtual Q&A sessions throughout the month of July to answer questions about 2020-21, are scheduled to reconvene at an August 3 special board meeting and update the community.
Before completing her eighth grade year at Rancho Milpitas Middle School, 14-year-old Misha Chaturabul left a lasting impression with her artwork titled, “Thank You,” which was a winning selection of the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s 2020 Young Artists Showcase and Silicon Valley Reads Competition.
“The funny thing is I didn’t submit my artwork voluntarily,” said Misha, a promising art student in James Coulson’s class this past year at Rancho. Coulson gave his students a five-month notice for submitting to the Young Artists Showcase and required all of them to enter their artwork.
“I had forgotten about the competition because of the pandemic,” added Misha, whose mother notified her that she was a first-place selection in the competition. “I was really happy and a bit shocked.”
The theme for the 2020 Showcase was “My Voice,” with an idea that reflected emotion, imagination, creativity, and originality. It was something that Misha gave deep thought to while developing her acrylic-painted piece. View her winning artwork here.
“It was something that I was a little conflicted about at first. I was going to do something on global warming. A few days later, I changed up the entire idea completely,” said Misha of her thought process. She finally decided on “a dedication to all the people in my life--family, friends and teachers--who have been there for me and supported me and helped me grow as a person.”
Misha’s art piece has two central figures embracing in a hug, as images of lightness and darkness fill the background, with a message stating “don’t worry, I’ll be here for you” and her response of “Thank You.”
“The hug was symbolism of them being there for me,” shared Misha. “I wanted to use symbolism in my piece so I researched different birds and flowers to see which ones were associated with hope, kindness, peacefulness and light.”
Her use of doves and dandelions on the light side, and ravens and ghosts on the dark side were the result of her research into symbolism.
“(Art) is my favorite class. I like the creativity and that art can be subjective, realistic or abstract, and that there are a variety of mediums to use, both traditional and digital,” said Misha, who attended Zanker Elementary prior to Rancho and is headed to Milpitas High School in the fall.
Misha’s artwork, along with all the 2020 winners, will be displayed in the building of the Santa Clara County Office of Education which hosts the largest collection of student adjudicated art in the state, according to organizers.
“Programs like the Young Artists Showcase and Silicon Valley Reads are crucial to the educational experience, and give students a platform to express their talent and creativity towards a cause that is important to them and our community,” said Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools.
Misha was one of two Milpitas Unified School District winners. Russell Middle School seventh grader Thi Le was a first-place winner in the Silicon Valley Reads competition for his piece on Annie Kenney, a women’s suffragette and leading figure in the Women’s Social and Political Union. View Le’s winning piece here.
Marking the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, the contest asked students to create a physical or digital poster based on a historical figure that best represented this year’s theme of “Women Making it Happen,” which explores impressive historical accomplishments, and looks toward the future as women are defining who they are as a gender as well as what is achievable. Le was one of seven students selected to win the prestigious award based on how well they conveyed factual information about the individual, the impact of their work, and how we can continue their fight for equality.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted school district budgets throughout the country, Milpitas Unified School District’s continuous track record of fiscal responsibility has allowed for a proposed balanced budget for the 2020-21 school term.
“As you know this year, 2020, is a very different year that we will probably never forget,” said Assistant Superintendent Wendy Zhang, whose Business Services Team led the 2020-21 Budget Study presentation preceding the June 9, 2020 Board of Education meeting. “The financial impact caused by this COVID pandemic is huge.”
Unexpected COVID-related expenditures coupled with Governor Gavin Newsom’s 10-percent reduction to education in the proposed state budget have forced MUSD to shift about $15 million in reserve funds to help balance its 2020-21 budget.
“When Governor Newsom proposed the reductions to education, he did not release much detail on how to implement the cuts of the subsequent years following 2020-21,” Zhang explained. “With this large scale reduction to education, it leaves us with no choice (but to tap our reserves) to have a balanced budget.”
The COVID-19 pandemic, the County Shelter in Place Order and the implementation of distance learning impacted MUSD in many ways, such as:
“Since the pandemic has created a new reality, we will have to come up with a comprehensive adjustment to our operation and allocate our budget accordingly,” said Board President Hon Lien. “We definitely need all hands on deck.”
MUSD’s 2020-21 budget estimates $127.7 million in expenditures, and because education doesn’t happen without teachers and staff, 84 percent of the budget is in people. Meanwhile, MUSD’s 2020-21 revenues are projected to be $125.8 million. A major factor is about $7 million less in Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funds from what MUSD received from the state for the current school year. LCFF funds make up 70 percent of the district’s revenues.
“A 10 percent cut to education in one year is significant. Many school districts are facing the same challenges,” added Zhang, who was joined by Director Linh Le, Supervisor Duc Vu and Accountant Lilia Cortes for the June 9 budget study session. “In order for us to weather through this financial storm, we need to look for opportunities to generate ongoing revenues.”
MUSD recently launched a school district-business partnership program, called MUSD Alliance Partners for Future-Ready Learners, to build mutually beneficial relationships with the City of Milpitas, colleges, and local businesses to assist in economic recovery and student career skills. One founding business member, KLA Corporation, donated $100,000 for the district’s COVID-related expenses such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and technology for its EducatEveryWhere distance learning program.
“If we don’t start thinking differently as a district, we fall into that constant cycle of being at the whim of the economy,” said Superintendent Cheryl Jordan. “It is imperative that we think differently about developing new revenue streams.”
The June 9 budget study session, which can be viewed here, includes cost projections for:
The 2020-21 Proposed Budget handbook can be reviewed here and hard copies are available upon request.
Milpitas High School junior Shivali Gulati is using her renowned Girl Genius communications platform to help raise funds for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Gulati, 17, founded her nonprofit Girl Genius in December 2018 “to connect, inspire, and empower female change-makers in STEAM worldwide.”
“Since our start, our nonprofit has impacted over 150 high school and college girls from 40 locations and seeks to ensure females (non-binary and trans-inclusive), as well as people of color, are given a voice through our three mediums: magazine issues, blog posts, and YouTube videos,” Gulati explained.
The nonprofit recently partnered with Makers for COVID-19, an international group of about 200 people with 3D printers who are making 20,000 PPE for more than 30 hospitals each week. Gulati teamed up with Makers founder Karina Popovich, a 3D printing activist and student at Cornell University who is passionate about closing the gender gap in engineering for this endeavor.
Gulati’s Girl Genius art team designed a special COVID-19 sticker, based on artwork used in the magazine, which is being sold on Redbubble.com, with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward funding the production of PPE. Purchase a sticker here.
“Girl Genius appreciates any amount of money you can contribute towards Makers For COVID-19, and encourages you to purchase a sticker from our Redbubble shop,” Gulati said.
To learn more about Girl Genius, visit the nonprofit’s website.
Check out these Girl Genius videos:
Assistant Principals Stephanie Park and Deanna Sainten were announced as the new site leaders at Curtner and Weller Elementary Schools, respectively, at the May 26 Milpitas Unified School District Board of Education meeting.
Park, an assistant principal at Spangler Elementary School in her second year with MUSD, returns to Curtner where she previously served as the primary school’s assistant principal. Prior to that, Park, who earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from Santa Clara University, spent nearly 14 years as a teaching lead with Cupertino Union School District.
“She’s a person who listens deeply and thoughtfully, and has a record of bringing people together and has strong instructional leadership,” said Superintendent Cheryl Jordan, sharing that Park was volunteering in Washington Heights, N.Y. when she “found a sense of purpose in connecting with students and families in a way that brought them an ability to dig deeper in their learning.”
Sainten, the MUSD Educator of the Year in 2012, has spent her entire professional career at Pomeroy Elementary School spanning nearly 14 years as a student-teacher, teacher, and assistant principal. During her MUSD tenure, Sainten took on prominent roles in PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports), Summit Personalized Learning Platform, where she developed grade-level curriculum, and African Ancestry Success Community, where she recruited and trained high school students to mentor elementary school students.
Superintendent Jordan said Sainten was selected to lead Weller due, in part, to “her tenacity and deep desire to make learning something that’s experienced by all in a personalized way.”
“Deanna understands the importance of parent and student engagement especially at this time of distance learning where she has taken upon herself to make student visits and has worked to enable staff to do the same,” Superintendent Jordan added. “She’s passionate about making sure cultural sensibility is something that takes deep roots in MUSD, and she is here for the long run.”
Park, who was an investment and loan advisor in international banking before finding her passion in education, said she will miss the Spangler Spartan family but is thrilled to join Curtner as its new principal for the 2020-21 school year.
“When I started my educational journey, I did not know where my path would lead me. Like most educators, I wanted to follow my heart and make a positive impact on students,” Park said. “When I was a teacher, I loved the close relationships I formed with my students and parents. As an assistant principal, I appreciated the impact I could have on the entire school. Each step has guided and prepared me to be a leader, a principal.”
Sainten credited Pomeroy and her many mentors over the last 14 years at the same site for her development and growth as an educator, and preparation to now lead Weller as its new principal for the 2020-21 school year.
“Weller is a wonderful community of dedicated teachers, staff, students and families. I share a great deal of alignment with Weller’s culture, vision and school priorities,” Sainten said. “I am a leader who is focused on equity, collaboration, restorative justice, civic engagement and inclusion. I look forward to continuing my career as a Weller Mustang. Weller is tied to the legacy of Milpitas' Sunnyhills community, and I’m excited to now be a part of that legacy.”
Park and Sainten’s hirings were unanimously approved by the Board in closed session at the May 26 meeting before Superintendent Jordan announced them to the community.